Several students complained to high school administrators Monday -- the first day of an anti-bullying "Ally Week" -- when three students wore the T-shirts, which also quoted a Biblical passage advocating death as a punishment for homosexual activity.
The administration stepped in and asked them to cover up the offending messages, and they obliged.
Time was when I probably would have been in favor of the administration's position. High school is a miserable time, goes the reasoning, and this doesn't help.
But look at the context: this was happening amid an anti-bullying event organized by the campus Gay-Straight Alliance. The gay students are not isolated. If anything, the people advocating death for homosexuals are the marginal actors here. They want students to "learn about people who might have a different opinion than theirs," but if anything these clowns should have been the ones getting an education. The GSA should have allowed them to wear their hateful attire and then singled them out for being the heartless little assholes they are, mocked their backwards, iron-age beliefs, and shamed the bigots into covering their messages up.
That's the real free speech lesson. People have differing opinions that should be aired. But if you're going to say something controversial, then you're going to have to take responsibility for it and face the ensuing shitstorm. I would hope that we and our high schools have progressed enough that such a point could be made.